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Another Weekend, Another Win

February 16, 2009

climb1Wow, 2 wins 2 weekends in a row! That might be a new record for me and my bikes! Colleen and I made the long drive out to Terlingua with teammate Patty B. this weekend. We left Austin Thursday after work and made our campground in Sonora by 11:30pm. A raw egg/fruit/nut breakfast and I was ready to hit the road. We got to Terlingua with plenty of daylight to spare. Got the camp set up and went for a little pre-ride. A raw meat dinner, some veggies, and a few beers left me ready for bed under the starry Terlingua sky.

Terlingua is the season opener for the TMBRA spring series and is a bit unique from the other cross country races in that it is combined with the TMBRA marathon series. Experts must race the 100k distance to get their XC points, but their finish also counts towards marathon points. Having completed the 12 hour race just one weekend before, I was not in good condition to race the full 100k (2 laps of a 31 mile loop). The only way I could get away with doing 1 lap was racing in the singlespeed category, so to keep myself from even thinking of racing the 100k, I only brought the singlespeed bike. This course has one monster of a climb close to the end (some 1200 or so feet in about a mile) and lots of other smaller climbs after about 30k but it also has a lot of wide open super fast single track and jeep road, so I took a gamble and geared the bike high with a 36-18 in hopes that I would be able to cover more ground faster and not spin out. I was prepared to walk as much of the mountain climb as I had to as a compromise, because even with lower gearing I still wouldn’t have anything close to a middle ring with a 32t rear cassette. Most people would be riding this climb in their granny gear! The gamble worked, and then some. I had the third fastest 50k time of the day of all categories at 2:19:11, less than a minute off 2nd and 3 minutes off 1st. The time was good enough for a 10 minute victory in the singlespeed class. A steel frame bike that I paid $300 for with one gear and no suspension put a lot of folks to shame that day. In a bit of fairness, I should clarify that I added my new Stan’s wheelset, my super old avid juicy 5 disc brakes, and the Syntace vector handlebar. Against the recommendation of some folks who had recently ridden the course, I also kept the Stan’s Raven tires on. I’m not sure why they didn’t think it would be a good tire out there, if anything it was THE tire to run. That bike was just smoking fast, until I hit the climb, and then the weight of a steel bike with a high gear really bit me in the butt. On the parts I actually could ride (about half the climb) I just turned those cranks over one painful revolution at a time. It felt like lifting weights. The other half I just couldn’t ride and had to push that clunker up one painful breath and step at a time. I didn’t lose too much ground to several geared riders I had passed earlier in the course, and probably none to other single speeders. When the enormity of the climb began to get to my head, I just kept telling myself  “Tis not the mountain that makes the man” (warning, link contains expletives) and kept doing the only thing a caveman knows to do: just keep going. The last 5 miles were pretty fast jeep trail and again, I was glad I had picked a higher gearing. Major props to Rebecca Rusch ( 24 hour national champion and elite endurance mountain biker) who caught me within the last mile and half only to get passed back because of my Caveman pride.  She had another lap partyto go and was easily matching my 1 lap pace (she did have gears though). She went on to win the female 100k race in a new course record time and had I known that was her at the time I probably would’ve chatted a bit.

As most of the 100k racers started pooling in, the beer began to flow. The Terlingua race is renown for it’s partying Saturday night after the races and with the pleasant weather we had this weekend, it was really a great turnout. Another great weekend of mountain bike festivus down in the history book.

Some other race notes.

  • Colleen won the Cat 3 Women 30-39 category. She had a great race and this was her first victory, so big props to her.
  • The team in general did very well and we racked up some good points for the team challenge. It looks to be a very promising season for the blue army!
  • The single speed category is an open category, so anyone from the world champ to a beginner can enter it. The competition that day wasn’t particularly stiff, so I felt like a sandbagger taking that first place, but it was the only way I could do the 50k and considering I won the 12 hour last weekend, I was pretty pleased that I was able to crank out the performance I did on Saturday. Since the 50k distance is a sport category, I should’ve had one of the fastest times of the day. It was a nice change of pace going from a moderate 12 hour pace to a no holds barred 2 hour pace.
  • The caveman diet once again proved itself as I ate raw meat/eggs/fruits&veggies for dinner and breakfast before the race with no problems whatsoever. This diet is here to stay!

I have dusted off my road bike and have signed up to do some skinny tire racing in the central Texas area this weekend. I have seriously almost forgotten how to ride a road bike really fast, so hopefully some training rides this week will get me back in the groove of things. I have no expectations for these races other than to go to the front and attack as much as I can just for the heck of it. Hopefully I will blow up near the end of the race and bow out gracefully. If I ain’t feeling any pain, I’m not getting a good workout in.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. colleenquindlen permalink
    February 17, 2009 9:23 am

    Wow! I didn’t realize that you had 3rd fastest of any 50K- that is insane! I knew you killed most of the other people but that is crazy. Some would have called a single speed-steel frame $300 bike a handicap- you could call it giving your competition a little mercy.

    Lets be honest though, you in your crazy sanity/insanity, did consider doing the 100K a few times during the pre-ride.

    Great video too!

  2. mitch comardo permalink
    February 19, 2009 2:06 pm

    Greg, White Industries Eno Eccentric Hub. Works like a Charm.

  3. February 23, 2009 9:32 am

    Nice work Greg, I’d type some more but I’m busy doing the math, figuring out how much raw meat I have to eat in order to catch you at the next race. 😉

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